[b-hebrew] Prophetic Perfect?

UUC unikom at paco.net
Tue May 18 13:15:05 EDT 2004


Dear Rolf,

>if one looks at the grammatical literature from Samuel Lee and to
the present, one will see that the prophetic perfect is an ad hoc
claim<

But isn't the concept of the "prophetic perfect" based on the assumption
that this is, indeed, a prophecy? You won't apply prophetic perfect to a
non-charged text, say, in a letter or on a jar, right?


Best regards,

Vadim


> Dear Julie,
>
> Your thoughts below are logical and reasonable, and it is fine that
> you try to understand the subtleties of Hebrew grammar. The crux of
> the matter is the claim "sometimes regarded as having already been
> accomplished".  This is in a way a psychological statement, the
> grammarian(s) claim they know the mind of the writer. In order to
> substantiate such a claim, one has to point out that either this
> writer, or one writing in a similar way, has explicitly stated the
> case. Or, one has to point to a text, which, interpreted in a
> reasonable way, implies that this was the state of the mind of the
> author. To the best of my knowledge, this has never been done in any
> grammar or monograph!
>
> But if one looks at the grammatical literature from Samuel Lee and to
> the present, one will see that the prophetic perfect is an ad hoc
> claim.  A fine illustration is the geocentric view (the sun and the
> planets revolve around the earth) of the Church in the first
> millennium CE. Because God is perfect, the planets must revolve in
> perfect, spherical orbits around the earth was the view. However,
> observation revealed that sometimes the planets held positions above
> or below the perfect circle. But God was perfect, no doubt about
> that. Thus, the ad hoc hypothesis was formed that the planets went
> along in perfect spherical orbits, but at the same time they went
> along in perfect spherical orbits perpendicularly on the axis of
> their orbit around the earth.  Now everything became harmonious. God
> was perfect and the orbits were perfect. But no data was used t reach
> that conclusion!
>
>   The perfective perfect notion was originally built on the view that
> QATAL was past tense and /or signalled completed acts. Thus, it
> contradicted fundamental grammatical thoughts to have hundreds of
> QATALs with simple future reference. So, in order to save the grammar
> - but without any data - the psychological explanation was invented
> that the action was completed in the mind of the prophet. Please ask
> your constructor if he or she has any *data* showing that the QATALs
> of Isaiah 9:1,5 are not just simple futures.
>
>
> Best regards
>
> Rolf
>
>
> Rolf Furuli
> University of Oslo
>
>
>
>
> >Gentlemen,
> >
> >Perhaps we should look at Jouon-Muraoka on this point:
> >
> >"In prophecies a future event is sometimes regarded as having
> >already been accomplished, hence the use of qatal.  This prophetic
> >perfect is not a grammatical perfect, but a rhetorical device."
> >(The examples cited are Isa. 9.1, 9.5.)
> >
> >If we step back and consider these so-called prophetic perfects
> >within the frame which the author/redactor constructs, we find these
> >passages embedded within a larger discourse.  What JM calls a
> >rhetorical device is perhaps just a function of pragmatics.  My
> >instructor (if I correctly understood the lecture) asked our class
> >to consider the mode of prophecy itself.  (Assuming continuity of
> >Isa.)  Prophecy here comes in the mode of a Vision.  So, perhaps the
> >use fo the qatal is a function of the vision which was past, Isa 1.
> >
> >Thoughts,
> >
> >Julie :)
> >
>
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